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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology and Quality

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How do I identify and provide educational resources to my patients?

Self-management educational resources aim to empower patients by providing information, education, and tools that improve patients’ ability to care for themselves throughout their daily lives.  You can use your EHR technology to order resources that are specific to a patient.  Some EHR technologies trigger relevant and helpful patient education orders or “information prescriptions” for a patient.  You can “click on” an “Infobutton” using HL7 standards, for example, of the “prescriptions” that are most appropriate for the patient, and then print them for the patient’s immediate use, transmits them as a secure message, or posts them on the patient’s PHR.  For instance, when providing for an obese patient, you can order the self-management resources for “obesity,” which provides the patient with the educational materials on obesity, recommended diets and exercise programs, and computer programs that allow the patient to track what they eat, exercise regimens, and weight.     

Although CMS’ proposed rule discussed making use of EHR technologies to provide patients with patient-specific education resources, this was not originally proposed as an objective.  One of the major modifications of the Final Rule was to add this as a menu set objective.  It is one of the 10 menu set objectives.  

Menu Set Objective for eligible professionals and hospitals:  

  • Use certified EHR technology to identify patient-specific education resources and provide those resources to the patient if appropriate.


  • More than 10 percent of all unique patients seen by the eligible professional or admitted to the eligible hospital’s inpatient or emergency department are provided patient-specific education resources.  

The resources identified by certified EHR technology can be provided to patients by email, fax or print copy. The phrase ‘‘if appropriate,’’ allows the eligible professional or eligible hospital to make the final decision on whether the education resource is useful and relevant to a specific patient. The term “unique patient” means that if the patient is seen by an eligible professional or eligible hospital more than once during the reporting period, he or she only counts once in the denominator.

To achieve the above mentioned objective and measure, ONC has included as a certification criterion the capability of enabling providers to electronically identify and provide patient-specific education resources that contains, at a minimum, the data elements included in the patient’s problem list, medication list, and laboratory test results and the ability to provide such resources to the patient.  The capability to calculate the measure is included in certified EHR technology.

Although not a requirement under this menu objective, for these materials to be effective they must be understandable and appropriate to those with limited literacy, limited health literacy, speakers of other languages, and those of other cultures.  

Related Resources:

A Guide to Choosing and Adapting Culturally and Linguistically Competent Health Promotion Materials go to exit disclaimer– Document developed by National Center for Cultural Competence provides guidelines on developing culturally and linguistically competent health promotion materials.
Accessible Health IT for Populations with Limited Literacy: A Guide for Developers and Purchasers go to exit disclaimer– AHRQ report and checklist for the development or purchase of health IT systems.
Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century go to exit disclaimer– Report by Institute of Medicine on strategies for redesigning and improving healthcare system.
Clinic visit and waiting: patient education and satisfaction go to exit disclaimer– MedSurg Nursing article discusses the importance of patient education during clinic visit and its relation to patient satisfaction.

Developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration as a resource for health centers and other safety net and ambulatory care providers who are seeking to implement health IT.
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